Remembering Sat-Chan – Sadako Sasaki’s 75th Birthday and How Little the World Has Changed

وَإِذَا المَوءودَةُ سُئِلَت

بِأَيِّ ذَنبٍ قُتِلَت

“And when the baby girl buried alive is asked: ‘for what crime she was killed’?” —
Qur’an 81: 8-9

Her name was Sadako “Sat-chan” Sasaki (佐々木 “さtちゃん” 禎子). She was born January 7th, 1943. She would have been seventy five years old today — if she hadn’t had a bomb dropped on her. And while there is plenty of blame to go around as to who’s fault the war was, nonetheless an innocent life was lost. Sasaki was two years old when the bomb dropped hardly more than a mile from her house in Hiroshima. She became part of that group known as hibakusha: “bombed person” (被爆者). And while the militaries of the world attempt to legitimize this or that conflict; this or that incursion, can we truthfully give a justifiable answer as to “why was this girl killed?”

It is now 2018 and still the world — or better yet, the men of the world — has not learned its lesson. Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump play at words that would deliver frightening consequences: the bomb that dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki would seem almost a mere firecracker to the nuclear power now at our disposal. Like the ancient Arabs of the Hijaz, who were consummed by their anger and their need for revenge, we stand at another abyss and it gazes back at us, asking: “will you change or will you destroy yourself?”

The sun set on Sasaki and as the title of the above Surah suggests, it will also set on us yet what will be our answer? Will we learn or will we burn?

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